Topic: Respond to the following:
As we consider the broad topic of integration of science (psychology, in our case) and theology, consider this conversation that a student had with his pastor:
Pastor: I know you are studying counseling. As you know, I received training in theology, and I well remember Jay Adams’ famous statement: “Psychology is just sinful human beings sinfully thinking about sinful human beings.” I am deeply concerned about the wisdom of pursuing this degree. Personally, I think psychology is secular “mumbo jumbo.”
The Pastor continues: In my opinion, all psychological problems are simply problems of faith, and should be addressed through prayer, repentance, and seeking counsel from the Holy Spirit. After all, you, as a sinner, cannot be expected to help other sinful people–can you? Can psychology really be integrated with theology? What’s your opinion?”
How would you respond to your pastor? In your dialogue with your pastor (“Pastor, thanks for allowing me to answer your concerns. Personally, I agree/disagree. . . “) include the following:
- Explain why you agree or disagree with Adams’ quote, based on your understanding of the course materials. Adequately justify your position considering both Adams’ presuppositions and implications for Christian counseling. How does your own worldview largely determine your answer? What does the quote say about sources of knowledge, per Entwistle’s discussion? Your answer will indicate which of the models of integration you support.
- Review the reasons supporting the integration of psychology and theology. Based on your thoughtful analysis, what is the one best argument for attempting to integrate the two disciplines?
Make sure to justify and support your answer. Where appropriate, use in-text citations to support your assertions. Feel free to actually create a dialogue with your pastor, or provide your answer in a narrative. For all your discussion, make sure you draw upon the textbook to support your arguments. Use citations to “back up” your statements. Make sure your paragraphs are no longer than four-five sentences (with only one main idea per paragraph).
The purpose of this paper is to think and reflect upon the primary goal of considering the integration of psychology and theology. The emphasis is on “thinking.” Here are some questions to get you started in this process.
- Prior to writing this paper, did you have any assumptions (beliefs) regarding the validity of psychology in Christian counseling?
- Were you influenced by your religious upbringing to like, or oppose, the profession of psychology?
- To what extent did your own “worldview” impact your reading of the chapters and the knowledge gained through listening to the presentations?
- What was the most interesting piece of information you read in your textbook?
As you approach the question of integration, consider the statement by Jay Adams. Bottom line, what is Adams claiming by making the statement, “Psychology is just sinful human beings sinfully thinking about sinful human beings”? Is he dismissing all of psychology and anything that can be learned from this discipline? Why do you think he takes such a strong stance? Do you agree with him? What does the statement say about his own worldview? You may be interested to know that Adams is not a psychologist; he is a pastor.
In the final analysis, do you feel that psychology and theology can be integrated? If so, why do you believe this? Have you opened your mind to that possibility that the two disciplines can work together? What have you read in Entwistle that would suggest that integration is possible? Alternatively, despite what you have read, do you still feel that there are major difficulties to surmount in order for the two disciplines to be integrated?
Please, please, do not just regurgitate information from the textbook, or use long quotations. Create a dialog between you and your Pastor. Make your argument for or against integration.
“Pastor, thanks for allowing me to answer your concerns. Personally, I agree/disagree. . . “
Required Text book for citations:
Entwistle, D. N. (2015). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity (3rd ed.). Eugene,
OR: Wipf and Stock. ISBN: 9781498223485.